Sit back and Relax

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We spoke with Simon Hammon, Chief Product Officer at Relax Gaming, to discuss the company’s designs on the North American market, and how experience in Europe can prepare a brand for this new frontier.

How have you seen the North American landscape evolve?

Movements in the North American market are incredibly exciting to see. Over the years we have seen a gradual opening of key states, most recently Ontario in Canada, which offers unrivaled opportunities on a scale unlike ever before.

We are seeing the rise of gaming results quarter-on-quarter, which is incredibly encouraging for all involved in the North American market. This widespread success has given both operators and suppliers alike the push they needed to enter this truly exciting market.

Over the last few years, especially in the online sphere, there has been a slowly growing number of suppliers aiming to reach this lucrative customer base. The previously dominant online position of land-based incumbents, built on a paranoia of synergy and familiarity, has proven not to be the case and is definitely changing. New suppliers with more online expertise offer a wider range of innovative mechanics to a more maturing market.

With that in mind, could you give us an overview of how Relax Gaming plans to increase its brand presence in the North American market?

Relax has already made a big step towards gaining a stronger North American presence with the recent acquisition of its Ontario gaming license. When North America is discussed, Canada can sometimes be overlooked, which should not be the case, as the region promises to be one of the most highly captivating and potentially lucrative regulated markets out there today.

In recent years, Relax has been building up its presence in Europe and is now well placed to expand its territorial reach with more global ambitions in mind. Naturally, our first steps into the North American market start with Canada; but we are of course incredibly excited about the consistent growth potential in the US market where we feel the Relax proposition has amazing potential.

How do you see Relax differentiating in the North American Market?

We already see that Relax highly differentiates itself on several fronts in Europe; from our commercial strategic approach, highly efficient and robust platform, agility and of course our content provisions. This is not only from our own studios, but from the broad array of partner solutions we offer. I am confident that these same principles will apply in the North American market, and will be both highly effective and appreciated.

Players in the North American market are hungry for new concepts, math profiles and trusted reliability – all of which Relax can offer. Our approach, even down to marketing and comms efforts, will be tailored to suit these customers.

Due to its rapid growth, the US is obviously a difficult region to break into. What are the main challenges Relax faces in this regard?

Like all new markets, each one comes with its own challenges both from a commercial penetration point of view, and from a regulatory requirement and specification point. The procedure for entering the US market is not a light undertaking and takes a concerted effort to ensure accuracy, as the license procedure itself is arguably the most stringent in the world for a state entry.

The challenge will also be about creating effective brand awareness in the market – for most players, they are not aware of Relax content and this will take time to resonate. The players, from what I have seen, are indeed embracing new games and content. If it’s high-quality content, then it will rise to the top quickly.

Ultimately, the challenges are like those for any new market: Ensuring full licensing, certification and adaptation; and then it's about visible market presence with the player community.

What lessons can be learned from your time in the European market when entering the US?

A key undertone is that players in the North American market generally have the same tastes for game content that they do in Europe. On this basis, we are confident that Relax will perform extremely well. The success in Europe is about sticking to our key principles of speed, agility and technical excellence, mixed with a high value proposition. Our growth in Europe has been exceptional and we feel that with those applied principles, the North American market has something to truly look forward to.

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